The beloved Japanese series One Piece is setting sail to new heights as its live-action version is nearing its premiere, much to the excitement of longtime fans who have been with the Straw Hat Pirates in all of their grand adventures.
The series follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, an enthusiastic prospective pirate who gathers a crew to find the legendary fabled treasure, ONE PIECE, and become King of the Pirates.
But the journey to find it is not for the faint of heart, as the Straw Hat Pirates must now search every inch of the vast blue seas, outpace the Marines hunting them down, and outwit dangerous rivals at every turn.
As the live-action adaptation begins its journey on Netflix on Aug. 31, PhilSTAR L!fe got the opportunity to witness an advanced screening of its first episode on the big screen at the SM Mall of Asia.
Does the new series give justice to Eiichiro Oda's best-selling manga series in history, or does it slump into the pitfalls of the live-action anime curse and sink into the ocean's depths before it can even make its mark?
Here are the exciting details that set apart One Piece's live-action adaptation from its anime counterpart.
Perfect portrayal from show's lead
A legendary show wouldn't earn its status without a protagonist who can instantly capture your heart with their memorable quirks and personality.
As he graced the screen as Luffy, it was clear that Mexican actor Iñaki Godoy put a lot of respect and effort into portraying one of the world's most recognizable manga and anime characters.
Godoy crafted himself so that he could give justice to Luffy's unwavering, adventurous spirit and childlike simple-mindedness—traits that have put a smile on viewers' faces and have sent them yearning for more of the character.
While the precise wacky aura of the anime counterpart is expectedly not recreated, you can still expect to laugh at Godoy's fun and chill approach to the young pirate. In fact, that's exactly what led Oda to choose him to portray the lead character, because he was able to make him laugh during the auditions.
Godoy succeeds in finding the balance between the character's energetic and chaotic charm and the show's realistic approach to the story. Great chemistry is also felt between him and his co-stars Emily Rudd, who plays Nami, and Mackenyu, who portrays Zoro, with their quips and comebacks.
Majestic set design
One of the more thrilling things about having your favorite manga or anime get adapted into live-action format is getting to witness how its fantastical worlds and settings are translated to have a realistic feel. One Piece definitely has that mesmerizing impact with its amazing cinematography and effects.
Because of its high-seas adventure story, the world of One Piece is mainly dominated by a vast body of water that contains numerous scattered islands. The live-action adaptation takes advantage of this scenic setting by utilizing wide-angled shots that bring about an adventurous feel to the scene.
Of course, a captain is nothing without their mighty ship, and One Piece proves that it didn't slack around when it comes to designing vessels.
Whether it be a fearsome pirate or a prolific member of the Navy, the ships reflected the look of their captain's character on point, making for one impressive visual improvement versus its animated counterpart.
Action-packed battle sequences
The live-action adaptation also improves on the fight scenes as they are more intense, fluid, and daring, but still retain what made them fun and exhilarating for longtime fans.
For instance, Luffy is famously known for his rubber-like body, which grants him numerous abilities such as stretching parts of his body at will to fight against his enemies.
While the anime displays this power in a wacky, loony, and exaggerated way, the live-action version seems to have realized that it should not be replicated in its story. Instead, it chose to have Luffy use his stretching abilities in a more reasonable way that still entertains and delights.
Zoro's fight scenes meanwhile go on a different route. Being an expert swordsman, his battle sequences take on a faster, more vicious, and more violent nature, filled with dodging, swiping, slashing, and deflecting that are all enhanced by splendid choreography on Mackenyu's part.
One Piece will premiere on Aug. 31 and will have a total of eight hour-long episodes.